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Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

I'll go first. Are amy of you writers of the novels and web fiction serials interested in answering any questions?

And, if yes to the previous question, how did you first come into contact with the Pathfinder setting?

Dark Archive Contributor

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Short version:

While I was aware that my old colleagues at Paizo had created an Adventure Path line after the end of the Wizards of the Coast magazine license, I hadn't really looked at them until a local friend brought them to our monthly geek pub night. Somewhere around Crimson Throne or Second Darkness, I started subscribing to the APs via a local comic shop. Later I ran the first two books of Rise of the Runelords with the 4e rules. (I've recently started running it again with Pathfinder rules.)

At the 2008 World Fantasy Convention, I ran into Pierce Watters and Erik Mona. During the banquet, Erik told me Paizo was considering starting a fiction line and asked whether I'd be interested in contributing. I was, and later that weekend I took him to one of the world's great game shops, The Sentry Box, where I picked up a few more Pathfinder sourcebooks and really started studying the larger setting.

Soon after, James Sutter dropped me an email to say it'd be a while before they were ready to move forward with the novel line. In the meantime, he asked whether I'd be interested in writing the Pathfinder Journal for their first Pathfinder-rules AP, Council of Thieves. I pitched four or five ideas. The one he liked was a revised version of an old novel pitch for another setting. He asked me to change a few more elements, like eliminating a vampire antagonist and changing the half-orc to something else--maybe a tiefling, he suggested.

The result was "Hell's Pawns." By the time that was finished, James liked the characters well enough that he wanted novel pitches featuring one or both of them. The result that time was Prince of Wolves.

Contributor

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Sure, I'll answer whatever I can. ;)

I have a terrible memory and am probably going to botch this story in all kinds of ways, but iirc Pierce Watters read my debut novel, liked it, saw some similarities to D&D fiction (not accidental, as that is and has always been a significant chunk of my writerly DNA), and asked my agent if I would be interested in doing a Pathfinder tie-in novel. Which I totally was, since my actual dream from teenager-dom had been to write gaming fiction. (Between getting to write for the spiritual descendant of D&D and getting to write for the spiritual descendant of Baldur's Gate, I have effectively realized all the writerly dreams I had when I was 15. I'm pretty happy about that.)

I took a look at the campaign setting, saw that there was an ENTIRE COUNTRY that was super duper uber-Gothy and filled with fun quasi-horror material, immediately started yelling "YES GIVE ME THAT ONE I WANT THAT ONE" and lo and behold they let me play around in Nidal.

sweeeeeet

My first experience gaming in Pathfinder was Rise of the Runelords. I figured I should probably learn how to work the rules system if I was going to be writing for this setting, so I shanghaied my longtime gaming group into doing that AP.

After that we ran through Curse of the Crimson Throne and currently we're playing a campaign of my own invention, much of which I intend to cannibalize for story material.

Editor

Hey there! I had a desire to be an RPG writer. After selling a few stories to different markets, I read all the Pathfinder Tales that had been published so far. And then I wrote a story in the Pathfinder style (but not in the world). When I emailed James, I sent that story along with a few I'd already had published.

He liked it enough he asked me to rewrite it in a Golarion setting. And that became The Weeping Blade. That was the start, and it continued on to Forge of Ashes! That is my debut novel and I couldn't be prouder.

Contributor

I've been a gamer and writer pretty much since I could read, and around 2004 I started writing articles for Dragon & Dungeon magazine under Paizo's guardianship. When Paizo made Pathfinder, I told them I loved working with them and would like to continue to support their company.

I mainly wrote game material for Pathfinder, but I've always wanted to be a fiction writer (which sounds funny because game material is obviously fiction, but, you know what I mean). James Sutter asked me to write an installment of the first Pathfinder Journal series with Eando Kline. Later, a writer was forced to withdraw at the last minute and Sutter asked if I would fill in, so I wound up with two stories in that series.

I asked James about writing a novel around that time, but he wanted me to have a bit more experience first. I wrote two more short stories for the web fiction feature, and also sold a few pieces of my own to other markets. Then I was offered the six-part Pathfinder journal for Mummy's Mask, which I was so excited to do. The characters really came to life for me and James gave me a fairly free hand with the stories. I'd just finished them up when Adam Daigle took over the Pathfinder journal feature and asked me to write the series for Iron Gods, which again I was happy to do.

All that work must have been enough to convince James I've got novel-writing chops, because I'm working on my first novel for the Pathfinder Tales line now. :)

Executive Editor

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I'm guessing this thread is going to be *very* popular with the Tales writers...

Oh, and I first came into contact with the Pathfinder setting when we all looked at each other and went "OH S+&+ OH S$+~ THE MAGAZINE LICENSE DIDN'T GET RENEWED—WHAT ARE WE GOING TO PUBLISH?!" The rest is history. :)

Contributor

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I will be happy to answer questions of all kinds!

I first played Pathfinder the year it was released. My gaming group was throwing fits about an impending fourth edition of the game we were playing at the time, and all agreed to give the new kid on the block a try. Loved it from the get-go, and we started playing regularly.

I went to GenCon for the first time in 2011 and pitched myself to James Sutter as a nautical fantasy writer, having just finished a successful series of novels for a Canadian small press. Paizo had just started releasing the Skull and Shackles AP, and nobody was writing pirate stories, so I thought it would be a good fit. The fact that my wife and I are full-time sailors might have convinced him that I knew my way around boats.

I sent in a writing sample, and James tagged me and asked if I'd be interested in doing some web fiction. Of course, I was thrilled, and sent him some pitches (six I think) for web fic stories. He picked one, and I handed him the Stargazer web fic about two weeks later (I was really psyched about the project, and had the advantage of not having a day job at the time, so could devote my energy.) I must have han00ded in just the right thing at the right time, because the next email I got from James had the subject line "Paizo Novel?"

After I stopped screaming with delight (told you I was psyched about the project) I read that James had a hole in his novel schedule for the following year, and I could fill it if I gave him a 100K manuscript in five months. I jumped on it and handed him Pirate's Promise a couple of weeks early.

Aside from novels, I also got to contribute the introduction section of the Ships of the Inner Sea supplement.


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

As a general question to any author interested in answering it:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?
How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

These question is for everyone....

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Do you guys avoid writing trilogies as a conscience decision or was it decided from the top? (personally I love the stand alone novels or ongoing series you guys seem to decide to go with)

What is your favorite part about writing in Golarion?

Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?

How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?

-- I read (or try to read, schedule permitting) all of the Tales novels. Partly for my own enjoyment, partly to see what everyone else is doing so that hopefully I don't accidentally write a similar idea or plot development into my own work. Also I'll look to see if maybe another author has a character or little piece of lore that I might be able to drop into one of my projects as an easter egg for observant readers, since I think that helps the world feel more interconnected and alive. (Credit for that idea goes to Dave, btw. I just started copying what he was already doing, because I saw it and went "hey, that's a good idea, I think I'll steal that one.")

-- I'll read or try to read whatever's relevant to a region, monster, or concept that I plan to use. Sometimes I miss details because they aren't quite where I would expect to find them (for example, I almost missed House Tilernos's crest and colors because it was listed in source material for Lastwall, not Westcrown).

And then of course sometimes I read stuff because it fits with my campaign or it's just interesting and fun and I want to read about it. :)

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Do you guys avoid writing trilogies as a conscience decision or was it decided from the top? (personally I love the stand alone novels or ongoing series you guys seem to decide to go with)

What is your favorite part about writing in Golarion?

(1) Protagonist, antagonist, or just "character appearing in"?

If the former, uh, I'm gonna take a pass on that one. I will say that no protagonist that I've used in any published book so far would be a candidate.

For antagonists, hmm, that's a toughie too, but I'll guess Kholerus (Liar's Blade), All-in-Ashes (Firesoul), or maybe possibly a certain Big Bad in maybe possibly a certain book that's coming out in the next few weeks.

If it's just "any character appearing in any book ever" then maybe Shyka the Eldest (Death's Heretic) or one of the other Phenomenal Cosmic Powers who make cameos in Salim's adventures. I can't remember if any other books have direct appearances by deities or quasi-deities, but obviously if so, they win.

(2) I don't (currently, maybe ever) have the skills to write a story big enough for a trilogy so I've never tried to pitch one.

(3) Getting to play with all the neato sparkly toys, and getting to kick around ideas with some super fun and talented writers. :)

Writing is a solitary activity and it can get pretty boring to be stuck in your own head that long (or, in my case, pretty deranged), and writing for the Tales line immediately connects you with a great group of colleagues and fans. That's really just a fantastic thing to have, and it's not something you get very often as a writer.

Fun questions, guys, thanks for asking them. :)


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Oh a follow up question...again for any author

How much do you work with your fellow PF Tales authors?


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Yay! It worked! *squees with delight, completely ignoring any conventions about how middle-aged Scandinavian bluecollar workers with full beards are supposed to behave*


Pathfinder Adventure Subscriber

Ahem. A big thank you to all the writers who's answered so far, as well as to any who will answer questions in the future, and to everyone feeding them questions too, for that matter.

And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

Dark Archive Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

As a general question to any author interested in answering it:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?
How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?

For the first couple of years, I read all of the other Pathfinder Tales novels. I fell behind and never caught up, but I still read some. A few of the other authors and I exchange manuscripts for critique, so sometimes I’ve read early drafts but not (yet) the finals.

While I haven’t read all of the campaign material, I browse a lot. When I think I might write a story in a particular region, I read everything I can find on it. The Adventure Paths are the products I most often read just for fun, although I’ve tried to resist reading all of them in hopes I can play instead of GM one some day.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber
Dave Gross wrote:
The Adventure Paths are the products I most often read just for fun, although I’ve tried to resist reading all of them in hopes I can play instead of GM one some day.

I've put a couple aside also (although I browse the back section articles) - I try to judge which AP will appeal to the others in my group, in the hope they'll get enthused by the idea of running one someday. Unfortunately, we don't play PF anymore, which is kind of making it a harder sell as there's a conversion job on top and most of our group don't have a lot of spare time.. :(


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Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

With regard to ongoing series - one of the reasons I don't enjoy them as a reader is that I "know" they're going to survive for the next book. So when they get into dire straits, I don't really wonder if they're going to get through - just how. (The Worldwound Gambit was the only one I remember where I genuinely entertained the idea that the bad guys might win).

Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable") Or are such considerations purely, 100% driven by the needs of the particular story in question?

Shadow Lodge

If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

Dark Archive Contributor

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John Kretzer wrote:

Oh a follow up question...again for any author

How much do you work with your fellow PF Tales authors?

Elaine Cunningham and I worked on Winter Witch, although circumstances didn't allow us to collaborate as much as pass the baton. We've been each other's sounding board since Pathfinder Tales was a twinkle in Paizo's eye. Elaine's also one of the first people I'll show an outline or a first draft.

Robin D. Laws and Liane Merciel both "loaned" me secondary characters from their tales for King of Chaos. Liane is another frequent sounding board. We often talk about how our Chelaxian characters' lives have overlapped and once outlined a story pitting Varian and Velenne against each other and their own secrets.

Chris A. Jackson, Amber E. Scott, Josh Vogt, Kevin Andrew Murphy, and Howard Andrew Jones have all exchanged manuscripts, outlines, or both with me. While it's sometimes invisible, they've all been a good influence on my final work.

James Sutter and several other Pathfinder designers and authors have loaned me a supporting character and a cameo character in the upcoming Lord of Runes. (That's plenty enough of a clue for some of you to figure out which ones they are.)

Outside of Pathfinder Tales, we tend to keep each other apprised of other writing opportunities, whether it's tie-in novels or calls for short-story anthologies. It's no coincidence that you often see our names pop up in the same places.

Dark Archive Contributor

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Kajehase wrote:

Ahem. A big thank you to all the writers who's answered so far, as well as to any who will answer questions in the future, and to everyone feeding them questions too, for that matter.

And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

Semicolons are an elegant mark for a more civilized age, not as clumsy or as random as a comma.

And only a Jedi can use one without cutting her fool arm off.

Dark Archive Contributor

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Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

I would write a 10-part epic following 20 heroes through an age of war in Tian Xia.

To the delight of dozens.

Dark Archive Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

With regard to ongoing series - one of the reasons I don't enjoy them as a reader is that I "know" they're going to survive for the next book. So when they get into dire straits, I don't really wonder if they're going to get through - just how. (The Worldwound Gambit was the only one I remember where I genuinely entertained the idea that the bad guys might win).

Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable") Or are such considerations purely, 100% driven by the needs of the particular story in question?

In a world of resurrection magic, killing a character is seldom the most interesting pain you can inflict on him.


Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber; Pathfinder Maps, Pathfinder Accessories, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Maps, Starfinder Society Subscriber; Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber

Sure. I meant "killing off" in the "no longer available for future stories" sense, not the dying in a story sense.

Contributor

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Kajehase wrote:
Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

Immoderate love. I had 135 of them in my last draft manuscript. I know this because Dave counted them, glued them together into a big stick, and chased me around with the stick until I stopped using so many semicolons.

I think there are still about 10 surviving semicolons in that manuscript, though, because by god MY LOVE SURVIVES.

Quote:
How much do you work with your fellow PF Tales authors?

As much as they'll put up with me. I can sometimes be excessively enthusiastic (see entry for: semicolons, 135 of). ;)

I'm actually a latecomer to the collaboration game, mostly because I spent the first couple of years hiding in a closet and screaming in panic whenever anybody approached within fifty feet. Now I'm trying to make up for lost time.

Quote:
Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable")

No. But then I don't have series protagonists right now. I'm pretty sure I could kill whoever and it wouldn't matter since the next book would have a different protagonist regardless.

I haven't yet been in a position where I felt that choice would best serve the story I wanted to tell, but if and when I ever get there, the main concern won't be so much "can I kill this character?" as "can I write a death scene worthy of this character?"

Contributor

Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

tbh I feel like I've pretty much gotten to do that. Is that a lame answer? That's probably a lame answer.

But for the most part I've been given great freedom to tell stories I want to tell about characters I want to talk about in parts of the world that interest me. I guess the one limitation I'd like to lift in an ideal world would be deadline pressure (infinity time to smooth out rough patches would be nice), but then if I didn't have deadlines I'd probably never actually finish anything, so, you know.

Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

As a general question to any author interested in answering it:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?
How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?

I've read *almost* all of the PFT novels in one form or another. Occasionally, I get a copy from another author for a beta read prior to publication... Doing that now (what a treat!)

I'm a delver when it comes to campaign setting books. I get all the ones that pertain directly to settings of my books, which is a lot, considering how much Torius and his crew get around, but I tend to simply read the Inner Sea Guide for fun and ideas. The authors are spreading out a lot, and it's always fun looking for the next locale.

Contributor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

With regard to ongoing series - one of the reasons I don't enjoy them as a reader is that I "know" they're going to survive for the next book. So when they get into dire straits, I don't really wonder if they're going to get through - just how. (The Worldwound Gambit was the only one I remember where I genuinely entertained the idea that the bad guys might win).

Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable") Or are such considerations purely, 100% driven by the needs of the particular story in question?

Easy answer: Yes.

I find series constraining in a similar way, but consider this: Primary characters may survive, but maybe not in the exact way you think. There are lots of ways to "survive" in Golarion... Are you the same character if you are reincarnated as a halfling, or a cantaur, or a goblin?

Contributor

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Kajehase wrote:

Ahem. A big thank you to all the writers who's answered so far, as well as to any who will answer questions in the future, and to everyone feeding them questions too, for that matter.

And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

I use them too much. Just ask my editor... Semicolons are like em-dashes... Once you use one, you're addicted.

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

Oh a follow up question...again for any author

How much do you work with your fellow PF Tales authors?

I've worked with Dave and Liane, and I'm good friends with Howard, but have never had the pleasure of giving input on one of his books.

Contributor

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Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

Can't really answer that one, because it's in the works... A place where no other tale has been based before! Muaa haa haaa!

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:

These question is for everyone....

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Do you guys avoid writing trilogies as a conscience decision or was it decided from the top? (personally I love the stand alone novels or ongoing series you guys seem to decide to go with)

What is your favorite part about writing in Golarion?

Interesting question, John... Radovan in master of Devils advanced as a monk and could use quivering palm. That is a very high level trick. Making characters uber powerful, IMHO, tends to make writing uber difficult. I like levels between 6-10 or so for best balance of cool abilities, spells, and believability.

I don't really shy away from series. I've got two trilogies and a four-book series under my belt already, and I'm working on the fourth "Pirate's" book for Paizo now.

Favorite part about writing in Golarion is I don't have to worry about setting. It's done. The rules are set. I can concentrate on plot and characters.

Dark Archive Contributor

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Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

These question is for everyone....

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Interesting question, John... Radovan in master of Devils advanced as a monk and could use quivering palm. That is a very high level trick. Making characters uber powerful, IMHO, tends to make writing uber difficult.

Because this comes up now and then, I'll mention that close readers will notice that it isn't exactly Radovan who gains this ability. Ultimately, Radovan is neither a monk nor that high-level a character.


But he does fight the Monkey King!

Chris I looking forward to your novel. Good for you that you're writing what you want.

Dave I would buy the hell out of that Tian Xia epic.

Now only Liane needs to team up with Boomer for some planehopping villainous high level romp in Nidal.

Does KAM get a novel soon?

RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

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Dave Gross wrote:
Kajehase wrote:

Ahem. A big thank you to all the writers who's answered so far, as well as to any who will answer questions in the future, and to everyone feeding them questions too, for that matter.

And just to stay on topic, a question: Semi-colons, how do you feel about them?

Semicolons are an elegant mark for a more civilized age, not as clumsy or as random as a comma.

And only a Jedi can use one without cutting her fool arm off.

This is the best description of semi-colon use I have ever seen.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

How often do you guys get together (either online or at cons) and think about how your various characters would get along?

Executive Editor

John Kretzer wrote:

These question is for everyone....

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Do you guys avoid writing trilogies as a conscience decision or was it decided from the top? (personally I love the stand alone novels or ongoing series you guys seem to decide to go with)

What is your favorite part about writing in Golarion?

1) Shyka. Don't mess with the Eldest. :)

2) That's a decision Erik and I made for the line a long time ago—since we hope to one day have a ton of PF novels in print, we want to make sure that any book a reader picks up is a good entry point. It can also be really hard to get bookstores to stock all the books in a series, leading to a steep decline in readership.

3) Getting to steal toys from some of my favorite creative minds, and also getting to spend some time living in Golarion as a character rather than a top-down architect.

Executive Editor

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Steve Geddes wrote:

As a general question to any author interested in answering it:

How many of the other PF Tales books do you read?
How much of the campaign setting stuff? Just the ones covering the area your novel is set in? The whole kit and kaboodle? Something else?

1) All of them, multiple times. :)

2) Once upon a time I got to read it all. Now I rarely get to take edit passes on the new setting books—there's just too much material given my other job responsibilities—but the other developers and editors are really good about bringing me those sections that touch on topics near and dear to my heart!

Executive Editor

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Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

My next one. I need to get a few projects out of the way first, but then I think it's high time to return to the First World... ;)


How do you pick the respective regions for your books?

Create the story, and then choose the best location for that story?
Or choose a region, and then write the story?

Dark Archive Contributor

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bigrig107 wrote:

Create the story, and then choose the best location for that story?

Or choose a region, and then write the story?

Region first, mostly.

But sometimes it happens simultaneously, as when I wanted to write a story about Varian's elven heritage, and Kyonin was the logical place to explore that history. Then more ideas about where the old man had been came up while researching the setting.

With the other books, it was definitely, "I want to write a story in Ustalav, Tian Xia, or the Worldwound"--the latter because timing was perfect for the Wrath of the Rightous Campaign, and it was also the logical destination for Oparal at the end of Queen of Thorns.

Contributor

Great thread! I'm planning on getting caught up on the releases soon. Thanks for talking about your experiences.


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Orthos wrote:
If you could write any one story in Pathfinder/Golarion of your choosing, no restraints, no inhibitions, no limitations except those of the setting itself, what would it be?

My characters Rodrick and Hrym go through a portal to the Mars-analogue Akiton and have a John Carter-esque style adventure, but with lots more lying and trickery.


Pathfinder Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

What are some of your favorite authors?

Contributor

Dave Gross wrote:
Chris A Jackson wrote:
John Kretzer wrote:

These question is for everyone....

So in your opinion who is the most powerful character in the PF tales Novels?

Interesting question, John... Radovan in master of Devils advanced as a monk and could use quivering palm. That is a very high level trick. Making characters uber powerful, IMHO, tends to make writing uber difficult.

Because this comes up now and then, I'll mention that close readers will notice that it isn't exactly Radovan who gains this ability. Ultimately, Radovan is neither a monk nor that high-level a character.

I get that, Dave, but it was Radovan in some form...right? You wrote it in his POV, so he was still one of the main characters. ;-)

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:
What are some of your favorite authors?

Steven Brust, Jaqueline Carey, Elizabeth Moon, and I cut my teeth on the classics, Niven, Pournelle, etc.

Contributor

bigrig107 wrote:

How do you pick the respective regions for your books?

Create the story, and then choose the best location for that story?
Or choose a region, and then write the story?

I'm with Dave on this one. Usually I look for a good location to torture...er...challenge my characters in, then build a plot around it. Sometimes they both happen at the same time. I'll read supplements, or the Inner Sea Guide, and find an esoteric detail about some location, and dive in.

Contributor

John Kretzer wrote:
How often do you guys get together (either online or at cons) and think about how your various characters would get along?

I have a pretty clear idea of how most of my characters would react to Varian, Radovan, and Oparal, but that's kind of cheating since they've already met (some on screen, others not, but most of the Chelish contingent have crossed paths at some point).

I haven't really thought about the others, nor have I talked about it with those authors. Although, since you've made the suggestion, it occurs to me that it might be pretty fun to run a couple of them into Vreva or Sera someday. Or Keren, or... hmm. Well, lots of possibilities. ;)

Quote:

Create the story, and then choose the best location for that story?

Or choose a region, and then write the story?

My process is pretty loose, but roughly it goes: (1) pick a magical item, villain, or monster; (2) figure out some kind of a plot hook featuring that thing (rarely a full plot, usually just a snapshot image that makes me laugh); (3) mess around with regions and character concepts until that somehow turns itself into a story.

For me it's easiest if I have something to work from. "Write a story about a hobgoblin who dreams of making it big as a ballerina." "Write a story about a vampire hunter who forges wills and plants the forgeries in her victims' crypts." If I don't have a prompt it can take a while, because then my brain just goes into directionless flailing. If I do have a prompt -- even if the prompt consists of nothing but a monster or a deity name or a magical weapon -- then it usually goes pretty fast. (Not necessarily well, but fast!)

Quote:
What are some of your favorite authors?

I have favorite books more than I have favorite authors, but: George R.R. Martin, Guy Gavriel Kay, James Clavell. I've really been enjoying Genevieve Valentine lately too; she has a gift for gorgeous prose.

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Steve Geddes wrote:

With regard to ongoing series - one of the reasons I don't enjoy them as a reader is that I "know" they're going to survive for the next book. So when they get into dire straits, I don't really wonder if they're going to get through - just how. (The Worldwound Gambit was the only one I remember where I genuinely entertained the idea that the bad guys might win).

Do any of you ever find that as a constraint? (Like "I'd really like to kill Radovan off here, but that's unacceptable") Or are such considerations purely, 100% driven by the needs of the particular story in question?

I kill LOTS of the central characters. The constraint that bothers me is the availability of resurrection magic. When I game, I usually house rule resurrection magic out of the campaign. I think the ability of "extra lives" or a "do over" can destroy story tension pretty easily.

I likewise turn the "magic dial" down for the player characters, a la old school sword-and-sorcery stories, so that most of the really powerful magics are in the hands of the villains.

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John Kretzer wrote:
What are some of your favorite authors?

Classic authors are Robert E. Howard, Leigh Brackett, Harold Lamb, Fritz Leiber, Roger Zelazny, and Lord Dunsany.

I won't name Pathfinder novelists because I haven't read all of them, and I'd hate to play favorites among my friends in any case! Outside the Pathfinder stable some of my modern favorites are Scott Lynch, Mark Lawrence, Nathan Long, E.E. Knight. I'll probably think of more the moment I hit "submit post!"

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bigrig107 wrote:

How do you pick the respective regions for your books?

Create the story, and then choose the best location for that story?
Or choose a region, and then write the story?

I think Dave pretty much answered it for me. A lot of times something about the region caught my interest and inspired some characters and story. That's what happened in the upcoming books I wrote set in Sargava. With the Elyana books I had rough story ideas and then had to find areas… although as I worked on the plotting, features of the area inspired some of the twists and turns and challenges.

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